Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Penang's transport plan - just give us buses

Star Online - Transport plan tops CM’s list (extracts):

NEWLY sworn-in Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says the state will be “pushing further” for the approval of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

“We may not get the approval in 100 days.

“However, we want to push further so everything can be ready when the plan is tabled before the Federal agency.

“Everything needs be in order at the technical level.

“We want to seek help from the new Finance Minister to help us get due attention from the national leadership,” he said in a press conference in Komtar in Penang yesterday.

My dear CM Chow, speaking as bloke born and bred in Penang (Island please, wakakaka), can we have our wonderful yester-years' bus system back, to wit, the buses of:

  • Lim Seng Seng Bus
  • Hin
  • Yellow Bus
  • City Council Bus 

For years Chinese Penangites have considered only the island as Penang, with the mainland referred to as 'koay kang' (translated: 'diseberang sungai' or 'across the river').

Hmmm, I wonder why our elder Penangites considered the channel as a river, wakakaka.

One of the major requirements for Penang is to have a good public transport system, whether it is light rail, bus system or taxi system or a combination of all, doesn't matter, provided it's affordable and effective.

I believe a well networked bus system should be good enough as I grew up with such a system. But I have to acknowledge today's population in Penang may well require much more.

But alas, our (previous, wakakaka) bureaucracy had been the usual obstacle.

My uncles told me that three private bus companies and one City Council owned bus system, which served Penang Island so well in earlier years, namely:

(i) Lim Seng Seng (Prangin Road - Ayer Itam),

(ii) Yellow Bus (Prangin Road - Teluk Kumbar),

(iii) Hin Bus Co (Prangin Road - Teluk Bahang) and 

(iv) the City Council Bus (Jetty - Ayer Itam)

... were lost - indeed, all of them due to the new guys on the block. Part of the problem was rumoured to be that the 3 private bus companies were 100% Chinese owned, and by families or kongsi's.

Lim Seng Seng Bus 

Yellow Bus 

Hin Bus 

City Council Bus 

On the mainland there were more than a couple of bus companies (exactly how many, my uncles didn't say) providing transportation to areas north and south of Butterworth town.

Thus, if we allow private bus companies to serve the proposed new urban centres in the mainland, it's more likely to succeed, than to leave such expectations of transport service in the capricious over-controlling hands of our bureaucratic officials. But then, why should there be commonsense in our planning?

Mind you, before, many blamed a certain PM for giving priority to Proton cars than public transportation. But can we hope for better things today.

That's an answer for CM Chow Kon Yeow.


  1. There was no longer profits to be made by these companies, that's why they all go bankrupt one by one. Now bus service is only sustainable via RapidBus but that's because the operations are subsidised by previous Government.

  2. Such a small island requires just an LRT system to solve it's transportation woes.

    Make sure got connection to kuao kang also.

  3. Another out-of touch Australian resident trying to lecture Penangites.

    The Penang Transport Master Plan is a solidly researched and thought out plan. The biggest obstacle to implenentation was your beloved Former Administration which simply said NYET to anything from a Pakatan state government. Sabo Penang Kau-Kau.

    Part of the reason I abhorred the Najis Administration. Good riddance.

    Buses ARE an important part of the master plan. But they are not enough, not for Penang Islands population density.
    Try taking a bus from the Ferry terminal to Bayan Lepas. It will take you 2 hours. That is pure journey tine, which adding buses even by a large factor will not help by much.
    That is a strong disincentive to take public transport.

    Penang Island, Malaysia's 2nd most important city badly needs a mass transit system.

    1. KT no transport expert. More so judging the requirements of an land-deficient island with a view of that vast open space of Oz.

      He should look at HK, S'pore. Best still Long Island, which both hongkies & singgies r trying hard to emulate!

      Why the archiac bus system? Why not MRT!

      Either still reminiscing the bygone good old days or just plain irrational rant to past time!

    2. However the PTMP was roundly dismissed by Penang Forum as an overpriced elephant and unsustainable, unlike their own master plan which was formulated with Penangites input & ideas.

    3. CK, Anil Netto said he had never knew this cheebye kaytee from Ayer Itm, Penang

  4. Scrap the lrt simply no volume

    1. Population is unsustainable for LRT but may be doable for monorail trains instead.


    2. There r plenty of examples of transportational accessibility leads to prosperity.

      Planning for the future & thus leads to more people & more business activities.

      Penang Forum has a selfish & short term look (not even a plan) that miss the forest for the tree. They only want to close themselves in!

      PTMP caters for the robust future. If it's managed properly, Penang will give HK, S'pore & Hainan (the new FTZ) a run of the future money.

      Penang can't compete on light&heavy industries. The only future is service, especially finance related.

      With good infrastructure, govt incentives to attract talents just like what the Chinese r doing for Hainan. The island will grow even if it's a later starter.

      Just think Canary Wharf. Or the well established Long Island. See the possible similarities?

    3. Its exactly because the folks in PF saw what DAP's dream of turning Penang into those you mentioned. They saw past the trees and discovered the forest will become botak!

      They knew very well that influx of foreigners now buying out local Penangites and pricing out the local youngs from owning properties will soon drive the locals out of the island, thereby turning it into a rich folks playground. PF's plan is catered more to local needs and able to achieve results quickly. PTMP is expensive, convoluted, and doesn't suit the local needs.

  5. If I am not mistaken "Kaoy Kang" refers to the Prai area. At that time the Old Ferry starts from Church Street Pier goes to Prai River Pier, thus its called Koay Kang). Later then only the New Double Decker Ferry goes to "Pak Hai" Butterworth Raja Tun Uda Pier.

    1. You've got all the terminology correct. I believe the Prai River Pier was where the old train station was. To catch a train in earlier days one had to take the Prai River ferry whilst those going to Butterworth/mainland by car/motorcycle/foot/to catch a bus etc took the Pak-Hai ferry.

      Wakakaka, I've forgotten the word "Pak Hai" - Thanks Khoo